This paper is an introduction to the mechanics of tuning. It
covers how to make changes to the tune along with implementing
changes in the EBL Flash ECM. What it does not do is to tell
you what changes to make and why. Once you go through this page please see Part 2 of the Introduction to Tuning series.
The EBL Flash
system allows the user to easily make changes to the tune and try them
out. Although similar to the ODB1 GM systems there are
differences. When tuning ECM's the calibration parameters are in
a file that is
to as a BIN. The term BIN being short for binary. Since the calibration
data is in a binary format an editor is required for us, the
tuner, to see the data
in a format that we can understand. For the editor to display the data
in a format we can understand a
definition file is required. The formats of these definition files can
vary according to the editor being used.
Some editors along with the type of definition file used:
Promedit and WinBIN use an
ECU definition file
Tuner Pro uses an XDF definition file. Can also import ECU
that both an ECU and an XDF file are supplied with the EBL systems.
Along with a document that describes the calibration parameters
available to the user.
Tuner Pro is an editor developed by Mark M. It may be freely downloaded directly from his site: http://www.tunerpro.net
TunerPro has been installed the opening screen will look like the
following picture. Note that there is no BIN or XDF selected.
first thing to do is to read in the XDF file. To do this click on the
XDF entry of the menu bar and then Select XDF... Navigate to the folder
with the EBL files and click on the XDF entry. The name of the XDF file will vary according to which product you have.
For the EBL Flash:
There are two for the EBL P4 Flash:
this is the standard version EBL_P4_V10_ADV.XDF this is the advanced version with more entries
Note that the V31 and V10 are the version number of the XDF file.
These can change in the future if a change is made to the XDF file.
If you used the default installation location here is where the XDF file(s) will be found:
At this point the BIN (or calibration file) should be saved to
another folder. This is to prevent over-writing the provided
calibrations. During the EBL install a user folder was created. This is
where the calibration should be saved:
TunerPro will remember the last opened calibration file and XDF file.
So once this is done the next time you open Tuner Pro the same files
will be opened with it. Editing Calibration
Once the XDF and BIN (calibration file) have been opened in TunerPro
tuning may begin.
edit an item in the calibration double click on the entry. This picture
shows that the SA - Main Table entry was selected. TunerPro will
display the contents of that table. You can move around the table
entries with either a click of the mouse, or by using the arrow keys.
Then type in a new value.
Once the desired changes have been made click on the Commit Changes icon (the floppy disk looking icon on the upper left of the SA - Main SA window),
then also save the BIN
(File->Save Bin | ALT+F, S). When changes have been made and the BIN has not
yet been saved, an asterisk (*) will be displayed next to the file name
on the title bar. This is a reminder that there are changes
have not been saved. Note that if you made changes and don't want them
saved, click on the red X icon.
icons across the top are as follows (left to right): Commit Changes,
Close Editor, Show Graph, Show Compare Data, Show Compare
Difference. Hovering over them with the mouse pointer will show a
tool-tip, naming the function of that icon.
on the Show Graph icon will bring up a graphical display of the
table. In this picture a single point within the graph was then clicked
on with the mouse. This is the point with the ball on it. You can also
click and hold a point and drag the value higher or lower.
A few more tips about using the graphs:
You can select multiple points by holding the Ctrl key down
and clicking on each point
Multiple points can be selected by clicking, holding, then
boxing the points
points can also be dragged to change the values en-bloc (lift the Ctrl
key first, then click and hold one of the balled points)
The graph may be rotated by holding the Ctrl key down,
clicking and holding on the graph then moving the mouse
The graph may be shifted or moved around by holding a shift
key down, clicking and holding on the graph then moving the mouse
The graph may be zoomed by holding both a shift
key and the Ctrl key down, then clicking and and dragging the mouse
that the way the graphing is done it tends to exaggerate. The graph low
and high values of the Z axis are derived from the lowest and highest
values in the table being graphed. See the above graph. The Z axis
starts at zero (0) degrees and goes to 32.34 degrees. The maximum spark
advance value is 90 degrees. If the Z axis was scaled from zero
through 90 degrees the graph would be flatter.
effect can be seen by dragging a single point to the minimum value and
another point to the maximum value. See the following two pictures. One
picture is with the Z axis of 45 degrees max, and the second at 90
Same table values, different scaling of the Z axis. Just be sure to
return the 'dragged' values to it's original value, or Cancel out of
the table save.
There are three different types of data in the Parameter Tree.
These are single values,
such as a coolant temperature threshold, or a MPH value, or the base
distributor timing value.
are on/off, yes/no type of values. Such as enabling individual
malfunction codes, or whether there is a TCC or a stick transmission.
These are for values that
are in a table. Such as the SA Main table, BPC vs. Vacuum, or Idle
the EBL system the calibration values are set up in related groups. The
first part of the entry name defines the group. This makes it easy to
find the desired calibration parameters within the panes. Supplied with
the EBL system is the EBL_Calibration.html document (view in any
browser). The calibration entry names match those found in the
Group are such as:
Closed Loop -
Another feature of TunerPro
is the ability to compare calibrations. The best part of being able to
compare calibrations is that it provides the ability to copy &
paste data between
calibrations. This allows items such as entire SA tables, VE tables, or
any other calibration parameter to be easily moved from one calibration
To set up for calibration comparisons select the Setup Compare Bins
This dialog will then be displayed.
on the Browse button and navigate to the BIN(s) you want to compare or
copy from and select it. You can set up to four different BINs to
compare the main BIN to.
name will be shown on the title bar. Also note the asterisk following
regular BIN name. This signifies that changes have not yet been saved.
Use the Compare menu to select which of the four BINs to use in the
copy & paste between calibrations select/highlight the data to
copied, then use the "Cpy Frm Cmpr" function. This is found in the table window Function drop down menu:
Data that has been selected for a copy is shown highlighted in
light blue. Then click the Execute button.
the data has been copied the data that has been copied value will
be shown in red. Now click the Commit Changes icon and
then follow up with a File->Save Bin | ALT+F, S. Note the
asterisk to the left of the calibration parameter name on the
title bar. This shows that data has been changed and is not yet
There are several ways to select the data to be copied:
Clicking on a single entry
Clicking on a single entry and dragging the mouse
Clicking on a single entry and holding the Ctrl key down while selecting other individual entries
Clicking on a single entry and holding the Shift key down to select a block of entries
Clicking on the upper left corner of the table (between the row & column annunciators) selects all entries
Clicking on the row or column annunciator selects that block of data
The Table Functions:
This is a real handy feature. It allows
the tuner to make broad changes to tables & values easily and
quickly. The Function drop down menu allows several different
types of operations.
Offset (+/-) allows the tuner to add or subtract a set value from all
highlighted entries of a table or to a single value (constant). To add
2 degrees of spark timing across the board select Offset (+/-), enter 2
in the Value box, highlight (click upper left of table) the entire
just part of) the SA table. Then click Execute. To subtract a set value
place a minus sign (-) in front of the value (such as -2).
is the result of the add.
we don't always want to add (or subtract) a set amount. There are times
when a percentage of change is required. Use the Multiply function for
this. Here is an example showing how to reduce the TPS AE PW by 15%
(across the board). Simply highlight the table entries and multiply by
Here are the before and after values.
Scalar parameters: These
parameters consist of a single entry. Can either enter data into the
Value box via the keyboard. Or use the slider. The window shows compare
data when a compare BIN is selected:
Flag parameters: Flags are an on/off, yes/no type of entry:
are other features available in TunerPro that the tuner may also
utilize. There is a Hex Editor, data viewers, an item lister, a
difference tool, BIN stacker, and an XDF editor (please don't
the EBL XDF files). Once you become comfortable with the above features
free free to try out the others.
In closing out the TunerPro
portion of this introduction is a word about the table values. You will
note that after changes have been made and the table saved
re-opened the values will not always be the same as when entered. This
anything to worry about. There are several reasons for the values to
change. One reason is the lower and upper limits. During data entry
nearly any value may be entered. Such as entering 200 degrees of spark
When the table is saved this value of 200 will be
limited by the equation used within the XDF file.
This equation is
derived from how the ECM translates the data value. Most SA values in
the ECM are stored as a number between 0 and 255. A conversion value of
approximately 0.352 is used to convert the ECM value to a SA
the tuner/editor. Which limits the SA to a maximum of 90 degrees ( 90 / 256 = 0.352).
brings us to the second reason the values can change. With a conversion
factor of 0.352 only values that are a multiple of 0.352 can be used.
In the above example where 2 degrees is added to the Main SA table.
After the table is saved then re-opened, the values of exactly 2
degrees will have been changed to 2.11 degrees. Which is an even
six (6 * 0.352 = 2.11, approximately).
The EBL What's
At this point the EBL Flash ECM should be
installed in the vehicle. Connect the serial cable to the serial port
on the ECM (RJ11 jack) and then to the laptop. If the laptop
doesn't have a serial port a USB-to-serial
adapter cable can be used. Turn on the ignition key and leave the
engine off (no cranking). If all is well the 'spinner' in the
upper right corner of the WUD will be rotating. This signifies
that valid data is being received from the EBL system.
then check which COM port is selected and that it is shown as open on
the WUD display (upper left). Can select a different port by
clicking the File menu (ALT+F), and 'CommPort'.
is valid data arriving, press on the gas pedal. The TPS% gage on the
WUD display will follow along with the gas pedal position. The CTS and
IAT gages should show the proper temperatures. These can be changed to
degrees F or C via the Preferences dialog (ALT+File, F).
move to the Flash display (ALT+D, F).
The Flash window has the information and selection of the
calibration file (BIN) to be flashed. Can also use the Flash window to
read a calibration out of the EBL ECM and save it to your PC/laptop.
EBL Flash ECM system has flash memory on board to hold the calibration.
using flash memory no battery is required to retain the data. The ECM
may be unplugged from the vehicle and placed on a garage shelf. Then
plugged back in with it retaining the same data as when it was
There are no chips to swap, no need for a PROM burner, and no
for an EPROM eraser. No little battery in the ECM.
on board flash memory is updated, or 'flashed' via the What's
Up Display (WUD). The WUD is a Windows program that is also used to
data log, playback, observe, and analyze the information. A serial
cable or USB cable (included) is used as the interface between the EBL system
and the laptop. This same cable is used to write and read calibrations
to and from the EBL system. It is an integrated package which makes
it easy for the user.
The radio buttons along the top
select which calibration bank to read or write.
select whether to program or read/save a calibration.
boxes to the right of the Action box show the currently selected
calibration files (the BINs). They will gray/activate when switching
between Program and Read. To read a calibration click on the
Read radio button. Then click the Select BIN button. You can type in a
file name that the calibration will be saved to.
Then click on the Apply button. The Messages box will display the
status of the operation. Try reading a calibration out of the
ECM. Then flash it back in.
most common error is forgetting to turn on the ignition before flashing
the calibration. The second most common is forgetting to connect
the serial (or USB) cable. Here is the error message when either of these
Options box allows the flashing to be verified (read back and
compared) and the flashed-to bank to
be made the active
A verify is a good idea "just because."
The Set Bank
Active ensures that the ECM will be running from the calibration that
was just flashed. In general it is a good idea to round-robin through
the calibration banks. This allows you to back up a tune if
something was set incorrectly during editing of the last calibration.
to set up and test data logging. This is selected under the
-> DataLog... menu. A file dialog display will open.
name to save the data log to and click the Open button. Once this is
done all incoming data will be written to that file. While
log file is open key-on, engine-off and press the gas pedal and release
Now close the data log and select Playback.
The main WUD
display will show the throttle position (TPS%) increasing then
decreasing as the gas pedal was depressed and released.
Calibration and Data Log
It is useful to use a
filename that has trailing numbers in it. Such as Firebird_0001.bin and
then Firebird_0001.dat for a data log of that calibration. You can also
make the PromID in the calibration match the trailing number. This
ties the files together and helps the tuner keep track of them. The
PromID is displayed on all of the main screens of the WUD.
The VE Learn also uses the PromID and a trailing number in the
calibration file name. The learn from calibration has the PromID
incremented and set in the learn to (or new) calibration. It also uses
the incremented PromID as the trailing number in the learn to
calibration file name.
WUD has a powerful utility to automatically learn in the VE
table values. With a standard narrow band (NB) O2 sensor all
that the ECM runs in closed loop can be learned in. With a wide band
(WB) O2 unit the entire VE table including WOT can be learned in. To
set up for a VE Learn first go to the Preferences dialog
within the Preferences dialog set the parameters for a VE
The first picture shows a VE Learn from the standard NB O2 sensor.
The second picture shows a VE Learn setup from an attached WB
that the NB VE Learn uses the BLM selection. While the WB VE Learn uses
the WB selection along with setting the proper WB unit being used.
Minimum and Maximum CTS values are set to bracket the standard
operating range of the engine. The Smoothing Factor is an automatic
smoothing of the VE table once the learning has been completed. A
smaller value provides for a lower level of smoothing. Resist the urge
to use high smoothing values. It can actually work against the learning
of the values.
The WB unit used for the VE Learn is selected at the ADC Channels tab
of the Preferences dialog as the Preferred WB:
Once the preferences are set up then select VE Learn from the File menu
bar selection (File->VE Learn...):
this point two file selection dialogs will open, one after the other.
The first asks for the name of the calibration file (BIN) that the
engine is currently running from:
a calibration is selected (not Canceled out), then another file dialog
will open. This is to select the calibration file name to save the
newly learned VE to:
that the WUD automatically increments the filename trailing numeric
portion (_01299) by one and suggests it as the new Learn To filename
(_01300). The WUD will also increment the PromID within the calibration
to match. When back-to-back VE Learns are done the Select From dialog
will remember the last Create New name and suggest that. This makes it
easy for the tuner to move from one calibration to the next.
Here is the VE Learn display with an active learn along with data
logging taking place:
the left side the Learn VE is on, Learn From is from a WB unit. Logging
is On, with the log file name shown above the PromId. The radio buttons
on the right select what to show the tuner: the original BIN, the new
Learned BIN, or the corrections in percent. The original "learn from"
BIN values are currently being shown.
Here is a screen
shot after a period of time in a VE Learn. This is from a playback of a
log file. A VE Learn can be done while driving or from a log file.
display is of the corrections to the VE table in percent. Once the VE
Learn is stopped the new BIN file is ready to be flashed into the EBL
There is additional information on data
logging and and using the VE Learn functionality in
documentation on the included CD (see the EBL_WhatsUp.html document: "What's Up Display Help" in the Program Group).
There is also a document that describes the calibration parameters: "Calibration Help in the Program group.
information on this page is intended to get a tuner started on
changes are made. Once you can make changes via an editor and
program/update the calibration to the EBL Flash ECM half the battle is
won. These steps are important as they lay the ground work for the
actual tuning. The VE Learn was covered here as it is the first step to
getting a new tune in line. As noted in the
EBL_Information.html document, there are a few calibration
parameters that need to be checked and possibly changed.
the EBL Flash system is 30-some base calibrations for various vehicles.
With the EBL P4 Flash system having 10+ base calibrations supplied.
Once the base calibration is selected and changes made for
items such as larger injectors, a VRFPR, or different base timing, VE
Learn sessions are the next step. Usually four to six VE Learns and the
vehicle driveability is greatly increased. The engine just
out runs better. This allows the owner/tuner to be able to drive the
vehicle on a daily basis. At that time further attention can be paid
toward WOT performance and fine tuning the vehicle driveability.